Arrow Recap: Oliver and Slade's 'Ship Is Sunk

Arrow Recap The PromiseThis week on The CW’s Arrow, while Oliver labored to send a most uninvited guest home early, flashbacks to his island existence revealed the exact sequence of events that made Slade Wilson the veddy angry man he is today.

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Picking up where last week left off, Oliver is near-speechless — and privately seething — to see Slade not only alive and in Starling City, but in his own home, under the guise of a donor to Moira’s mayoral campaign. Throughout Slade’s stay, which gets extended when he coaxes Thea into offering a tour of the manse and its many antiquities, the guest deftly taunts Oliver with allusions to their shared, traumatic past — including the tragic death of Shado, whom Slade loved. At one point, Oliver goes for a kill (via ice pick), but his superstrong frenemy stops the attack in its tracks, rebuffing: “Not yet, kid.”

Oliver discreetly dials Felicity, who puts the overheard conversation on speakerphone for the rest of Team Arrow to hear — and Sara instantly recognizes Slade’s distinct voice, warning the others that this guy will kill Oliver and his entire family. Swinging into action, Sara and Roy casually “crash” the Queens’ gathering — the former trading knowing glares with Slade, the latter sharing a “particularly firm handshake” with Mr. Wilson. Oliver near-dares Slade, “So… what would you like to do now?,” and they agree to call it a night. Diggle is positioned outside with “the biggest gun” he’s got, ready to take a kill shot once Slade leaves — but before he can do so, one of Slade’s minions KO’s the would-be sniper. “Five years ago, I made you a promise…. Well, I’m here to fulfill it,” Slade warns Oliver before speeding off in a way-cool, gull-winged sports car.

But what gave birth to said nefarious “promise”?

In flashbacks — which fill most of the intense, hope-you-did-all-your-breathing-beforehand hour — Oliver, Slade and Sara set out to take the freighter commanded by Dr. Ivo (whom we later see share a sad radio conversation with his apparently addled, estranged wife Jessica). But first, they destroy — with Slade’s consent — the remaining Mirakuru, lest it fall into the wrong (or wronger) hands. They then use a bonfire to draw some of Ivo’s men to shore, where Oliver is promptly/purposefully captured. Once aboard the ship and shot up with “truth serum” by Ivo, Oliver “confesses” the location of his friends: They’re on the freighter.

As Ivo’s men scramble (and Sara/Slade parachute into the abandoned freighter deck), Oliver escapes and joins in the melee, where Slade — in the first-gen Deathstroke mask — makes mincemeat of a multitude while Sara frees the other prisoners (including the conspicuous Reverend Flynn and his pet rat Abraham…). When Oliver gets the drop on Ivo, he must decide whether to kill the not-so-good doctor in cold blood or risk that he’ll blab to Slade about the circumstances surrounding Shado’s death. Oops, too late — Slade was standing behind Ol the whole time. And now he’s quite cheesed off.

A wildly bobbing freighter allows Oliver escape, but just as he, Sara, the reverend and the Bratva prisoner are about to jump ship and return to the island, Slade pulls Oliver up and begins tossing him around like a rag doll. Oliver ends up locked in one of the cages, where he realizes that Slade pocketed the leftover Mirakuru, that the crate they burned was empty. The big guy’s plan for the “brother” who betrayed him? “You cannot die until you know complete despair,” Sade growls. “And you will. I promise.

As the hour closes, we see that Slade planted cameras all over the Queen home… which he’s monitoring with his one good eye and one quite empty socket.

Was “The Promise” everything you expected? Was it, perhaps, the ultimate episode of comic-book action brought to TV? And could Ivo be Felicity’s dad…?